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Section 52B Crimes Act 1900
Dangerous Navigation

Dangerous Navigation Occasioning Death is an offence under section 52B of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were navigating a vessel
  2. You were involved in an impact causing the death of another person, and
  3. You were under the influence of alcohol or a drug or drugs, or were navigating at a dangerous speed, or were navigating in a dangerous manner.

A ‘vessel’ means a water craft of any description that is used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.

An ‘impact’ is that which occurs through:

  1. The vessel overturning or running aground
  2. An impact with any object or person and the vessel
  3. An impact with another vessel
  4. An impact with anything attached to the vessel
  5. Falling from, or being ejected or thrown from, the vessel, and
  6. An impact between any object, including the water or ground, and a person due to the person protruding from the vessel.

The maximum penalty increases to 14 years in prison where the offence occurred in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ which is where:

  1. You had a ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ (PCA) in your breath or blood
  2. You exceeded the speed limit
  3. You were attempting to avoid a pursuit by a police officer, or
  4. You were ‘very substantially impaired’ by a drug or drugs

A PCA is a reading of at least 0.15.

You are presumed to have been under the influence of alcohol where you had the PCA in your breath or blood.

A certificate of your alcohol or drug concentration is admissible as evidence as long as the analysis occurred within 2 hours after the impact, unless you are able to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the concentration was lower at the time of impact.

A defence to the charge is that the death was not attributable in any way to:

  1. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  2. The speed at which you navigated, or
  3. The manner in which you navigated.

Dangerous Navigation Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is an offence under section 52B of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were navigating a vessel
  2. You were involved in an impact causing grievous bodily harm to another person, and
  3. You were under the influence of alcohol or a drug or drugs, or were navigating at a dangerous speed, or were navigating in a dangerous manner.

A ‘vessel’ means a water craft of any description that is used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.

An ‘impact’ is that which occurs through:

  1. The vessel overturning or running aground
  2. An impact with any object or person and the vessel
  3. An impact with another vessel
  4. An impact with anything attached to the vessel
  5. Falling from, or being ejected or thrown from, the vessel
  6. An impact between any object, including grounds and water, and a person due to the person protruding from the vessel.

‘Grievous bodily harm’ means ‘very serious harm’ it includes, but is not limited to:

  1. The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure
  2. Any permanent or serious disfiguring, and
  3. Any grievous bodily disease

The maximum penalty increases to 11 years in prison where the offence occurs in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ which is where:

  1. You had a ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ in your breath or blood
  2. You exceeded the speed limit
  3. You were attempting pursuit by a police officer, or
  4. You were ‘very substantially impaired’ by a drug or drugs

A ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ (pca) is a reading of at least 0.15.

You are presumed to have been under the influence of alcohol where you had the pca in your bloodstream.

A certificate of your alcohol or drug concentration is admissible as evidence as long as the analysis occurred within 2 hours after the impact, unless you are able to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the concentration was lower at the time of impact.

A defence to the charge is that the harm was not attributable in any way to:

  1. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  2. The speed at which you navigated, or
  3. The manner in which you navigated.

If you are going to court for Dangerous Navigation, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to secure the optimal outcome.

Read on for more information.

The Legislation

Section 52B of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Dangerous Navigation’ and reads as follows:

52B Dangerous navigation: substantive matters

(1) Dangerous navigation occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning death if the vessel navigated by the person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of another person and the person navigating the vessel was, at the time of the impact, navigating the vessel:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning death if the person commits the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning death in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

(3) Dangerous navigation causing grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous navigation causing grievous bodily harm if the vessel navigated by the person is involved in an impact occasioning grievous bodily harm to another person and the person navigating the vessel was, at the time of the impact, navigating the vessel:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

(4) Aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm if the person commits the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 11 years.

(5) When vessel is involved in impact–generally For the purposes of this section, the circumstances in which a vessel is involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person include if the death or harm is occasioned through any of the following:
(a) the vessel overturning or running aground while the person is being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(b) an impact between any object and the vessel while the person is being conveyed in or on that vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(c) an impact between the person and the vessel,
(d) the impact of the vessel with another vessel or an object in, on or near which the person is at the time of the impact,
(e) an impact with anything on, or attached to, the vessel,
(f) an impact with anything that was in motion through falling from the vessel,
(g) the person falling from the vessel, or being thrown or ejected from the vessel, while being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(h) an impact between any object (including the water and the ground) and the person, as a consequence of the person (or any part of the person) being or protruding outside the vessel, while the person is being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise).

(6) When vessel is involved in causing other impacts For the purposes of this section, a vessel is also involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person if the death or harm is occasioned through the vessel causing an impact between other vessels or between another vessel and any object or person or causing another vessel to overturn or run aground.

(7) Circumstances of aggravation In this section, “circumstances of aggravation” means any circumstances at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm in which:
(a) the prescribed concentration of alcohol was present in the accused’s breath or blood, or
(b) the accused was navigating the vessel at a speed that exceeds the speed limit (if any) applicable to the person navigating the vessel, or to the navigable waters, on which the vessel was navigated at the time of the impact, or
(c) the accused was navigating the vessel in an attempt to escape pursuit by a police officer, or
(d) the accused’s ability to navigate was very substantially impaired by the fact that the accused was under the influence of a drug (other than intoxicating liquor) or a combination of drugs (whether or not intoxicating liquor was part of that combination).

(8) Defences It is a defence to any charge under this section if the death or grievous bodily harm occasioned by the impact was not in any way attributable (as relevant):
(a) to the fact that the person charged was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug or a combination of drugs, or
(b) to the speed at which the vessel was navigated, or
(c) to the manner in which the vessel was navigated.

(9) Definitions In this section:”drug” has the same meaning as it has in the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.”object” includes a pier, wharf, jetty, pontoon, buoy, breakwater, bridge, support, mooring post or platform, navigation aid, retaining wall, marina, boatshed, slipway or swimming enclosure.”prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.”vessel” means a vessel within the meaning of the Marine Safety Act 1998.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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